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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Q & A from Assessment Policies Changes Webinar, April 26, 2018

Question 1: Will Cognos performance reports from previous years be updated to reflect these assessment policy changes?
Answer: No, previous Cognos reports will not be retroactively updated because of the transition to a new data management system.
 
Question 2: What if a student takes the pre-test after 6 class hours, but drops out after 10 class hours — do we still have to enter the pre-test score?
Answer: All administered tests must be entered into the state data management system.
 
Question 3: If students are taking different courses, for example, math and English, how to calculate the hours? For the math MAPT, is it just the math class hours? For the reading MAPT, is it just the English class? Or is it the total of all the class hours, regardless of content of instruction?
Answer: It is the total attended hours regardless of the content of instruction.
 
Question 4: The problem with CLAS-E writing is trying to score it before the lockout. Is there any flexibility on the scoring?
Answer: All pre-test and post-test scores must be entered into the data management system before the monthly data lockout date.
 
Question 5: If a student enrolls, we give a pre-test and they announce they are moving to California before the 65 hours of instruction has been reached-does that mean we can give a post-test early?
Answer: No, post-tests must be administered at 65 hours of attendance since the pre-test was administered.
 
Question 6: Do we have to wait an additional 65 hours between the 2nd and 3rd test? This again would be in the case of a student leaving before the semester end.
Answer: Yes, there must be at least 65 hours between the second and third test as well.
 
Question 7: What happens if initial testing occurs after 18 hours of instruction?
Answer: Pre-tests must be administered before or at 18 hours of attendance.
 
Question 8: To make sure I understand the policy about students scoring over 600 on a MAPT test, if someone does that in the pre-test, they don't have to take the post-test. But the next fiscal year, they have to take the MAPT again, regardless of the 600. Is that correct?
Answer: Yes unless the score from the previous fiscal year is not eligible to be copied over into the next fiscal year-see Assessment Policy 4-Copy over of Assessments and the Shelf Life of Test in the ACLS Assessment Policy Manual. However, exit criteria scores for ESOL assessments cannot be copied over because these scores indicate the student is no longer eligible for ESOL services.
 
Question 9: Just to be really clear - there needs to be 65 hours of math only instruction between MAPT math pre- and post-tests? So if the student is also in a conversation class, those hours wouldn't count towards the 65 hours?
Answer: All total attended hours count regardless of the content of instruction. See question 3 above.
 
Question 10: Do non-rates based classes count towards the 65 hours?
Answer: Yes. See questions 3 and 9 above.
 
Question 11: And the flip side, a student scores 600+ on the MAPT post-test, the next fiscal year that score can be carried over as her pre-test?
Answer: If the test in the current fiscal year was administered after April 30, yes, it can be copied over into the next fiscal year- see Assessment Policy 4-Copy over of Assessments and the Shelf Life of Test in the ACLS Assessment Policy Manual. However, exit criteria scores for ESOL assessments cannot be copied over because these scores indicate the student is no longer eligible for ESOL services.
 
Question 12: Would you please reiterate the Periods of Participation (POP) policy and recommendations for what changes to incorporate into our enrollment and assessment systems and procedures?
Answer: For details on Periods of Participation, please the National Reporting System Technical Assistance Guide, page 31. Current ACLS assessment policies address the requirements of Periods of participation and the new the new data management system will have the capacity to clearly define Periods of Participation. ACLS will provide more guidance on the new data management and POPs in FY2019.
 
Question 13: Is my understanding correct in that we need to post-test students before they are auto- exited in SMARTT? What does this timeline look like? For example: if a student's last entered attendance is in December 2017, we need to post-test them by when. April 15th? I am thinking specifically in terms of MAPT.
Answer: Yes, the program needs to post-test the student within 3 months of the date of the last attendance. Currently, in SMARTT that means the test would have to be administered before the end of March. However, the new data management system will be more precise and it will be 3 months from the date of the last attendance.
 
Question 14: Can we count as a pre-test the test administered by another program if the student transferred?
Answer: Yes within the fiscal year.
 
Question 15: If an ESOL student tests out of TABE-E Reading and Writing, and we want to administer the MAPT so she can stay in the program, will her data be captured?
Answer: If the student is enrolled into an ABE class, then yes, the MAPT or TABE 9/10 Language sub-test may be administered depending on the content area the student needs to improve in.
 
Question 16: Currently SMARTT allows post-test scores to be entered after two calendar months have passed since a student's pre-test. Will this be changed to 65 hours of attendance?
Answer: ACLS will decide this when the new data management system is in place.
 
Question 17: There seemed to be a contradiction. On the one hand, a student must be entered into system if they have had 12+ hours of class and yet we cannot issue a post-test to them if they exit prior to the 65-hour mark? If that is true, they would automatically count against the 80% pre-post test that we are expected to reach, right?
Answer: Yes, this is correct..
 
Question 18: We reach 65 hours of class time in just 6 1/2 weeks, so if a student takes a pre-test next week, they would be able to get 65 hours before June 30th. Is this 65 hours for actual student hours or class hours?
Answer: It is the student's attended hours since the pre-test was administered.
 
Question 19: If a student, for whatever reason, takes the MAPT or BEST Plus 2.0 after 18 hours, is their score not accepted?
Answer: The policy requires that all students must be pre-tested before or at 18 hours of attendance.
 
Question 20: Are just the math class hours counted towards the 65 hour pre- and post-test requirement?
Answer: All the student's attended hours count regardless of content of instruction-see questions 3,9, and 10 above.
 
Question 21: If a student stays in an ESOL class, can she take the MAPT?
Answer: Students enrolled in ESOL classes must be pre- and post-tested with ESOL assessments. The MAPT is not an ESOL assessment.
 
Question 22: For the TABE CLAS E Reading and Writing tests, if a student scores out of a level on the post-test, do we give them the next level right away or wait until next year to move them up a book level?
Answer: The retesting policy only applies to pre-tests. ACLS recommends that programs wait until the next fiscal year to test students with the next TABE CLAS E level.
 
Question 23: What is the difference between student hours and class hours?
Answer: Student hours are the hours the student attended. Class hours are the class scheduled hours.
 
Question 24: A student still gets 1 point for an EFL even if it is not gained in their PAA... so what is the purpose of setting the PAA for the feds? What are they doing with this data?
Answer: All states are required to assign an initial placement for every student every fiscal year. MA assigns the initial placement based on the Primary Assessment Area (PAA). CLS reports to NRS the number of students at each level (initial placement), their demographics (gender, age, ethnicity) and their outcomes. USED reports this data to Congress.
 
Question 25: Can we give the MAPT to ESOL students if they maxed out on the TABE CLASE-E?
Answer:The MAPT is administered to test reading and math skills of ABE students. If students maxed out of ESOL, they can enroll in an ABE class if that suits their education goals.
 
Question 26: The taking the pre-test after 18 hours is an important question because all students aren't logging the same number of class hours at the same time, so some will hit 18 hours before others and it's hard to give the test at precisely the right time when there are 100 different "right times". Must we pre-test at exactly 18 hours?
Answer: All students must be pre-tested within the first 18 hours of attendance but students can be pre-tested prior to enrollment (with the exception of MAPT, see MAPT section in Chapter 5-Test Administration Procedures of the ACLS Assessment Policy Manual).
 
Question 27: Can you use BEST Plus 2.0 for some students and TABE E for some students in the same ESOL class?
Answer: Yes, depending on the skills (speaking, listening, reading, writing) students want to improve.
 
Question 28: I believe you can't take the MAPT post-test until you have the appropriate amount of hours because the system won't permit it?
Answer: After a student takes a MAPT, the test automatically becomes available again for post-test in the OWL system after two months/60 days. However, for students in programs with intensive instruction, if a student receives at least 65 hours of instruction before two months/60 days have passed, test administrators can send a message to UMass-OWL Technical Support to request that the test be made available. For more details, see the section on MAPT in the ACLS Assessment Manual.
 
Question 29: If a student takes a pre-test but then is not enrolled until a couple of months later, can we use that pre-test or do we need to give another one when they actually enroll? For example, if a student intends to be in the class but then has to go back to their country suddenly.
Answer: n this situation, you would not need to pre-test the student again, you can use the previous pre-test. See Assessment Policy 4: Copy-Over of Assessment and the Shelf Life of a Test in the ACLS Assessment Policies Manual.
 
Question 30: We have ESOL classes at night; we have ABE classes in the day. A student who maxes at SPL 6 at night, cannot come in the daytime. That's why we might want to still be able to have them come to class at night. So we'd want to give the MAPT. But I guess you're saying no, that's not possible. Right?
Answer: Students must be pre- and post-tested to measure their gain in the skill/content area they study. In this situation, the student maxed out of ESOL services and cannot attend ABE classes in the morning. The student should therefore be recommended to other providers in the area that offer ABE evening classes or to volunteer tutor services provided statewide by Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts.
 
Question 31: The pre-tests can be given before 18 hours, so there isn't a need to wait until then, correct?
Answer: This is correct. Programs can administer pre-tests before 18 hours of attendance or at intake (except for the MAPT).
 
Question 32: Can we give TABE CLAS E to a student who tested exit NRS on the BEST Plus 2.0?
Answer: Yes.
 
Question 33: Sometimes a student achieves exit criteria either with TABE or BEST Plus 2.0 but still needs services...so how can we help them?
Answer: If the exit is at pre-test, the student can transition to an ABE class if this is what suits their educational needs and goals. If the exit is at post-test, the student may be served until the end of the FY.
 
Question 34: TABE 9/10 is not designed for ESOL, but students take it to get into many vocational training programs. If the program does not have ABE component, it would make sense to give them MAPT to see where they are, because maxing on TABE Reading does not reflect readiness for the next step, and ABE programs do not still suit their needs. Can we do MAPT in that case?
Answer: It is not clear what is meant by this question, therefore we cannot answer it. Please contact Dana Varzan-Parker, assessment specialist, via email to clarify the question.
 
Question 35: Can you help me see the difference between EFL, GLE and NRS levels?
 
Question 36: Since we run in the summer, we can test new students in July, without waiting until September, is that, correct?
Answer: Yes, this is correct.
 
Question 37: Does the primary assessment area affect our MSG target?
Answer: Yes.
 


Last Updated: May 8, 2018
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